Sumatran Orangutan Society

Sumatran Orangutan Society

At a glance


  • Animals / wildlife
  • Environment
  • International development

Other details

Organisation type: 
Geographical remit: 


Sumatran orangutans are critically endangered. As their rainforest habitat is cleared for farmlands, infrastructure and roads, these gentle apes, one of our closest relatives in the animal kingdom, are being pushed to the edge of extinction. SOS is dedicated to turning this situation around.

We are a small, dynamic NGO on a mission to protect orangutans, their forests and their future.  In order to achieve this, we must urgently address emerging threats and scale up the conservation approaches which offer the best hope for the security of northern Sumatra’s irreplaceable rainforest ecosystems, the iconic species that live there, and the countless lives and livelihoods which depend on their protection. We are backing frontline environmental defenders, supporting immediate boots-on-the-ground protection, building the capacity of our partner organisations, and setting the wheels in motion for long-term solutions for durable conservation.


We deliver impact through frontline projects and partnerships which tackle the causes of deforestation as well as the symptoms, and strategic, impactful campaigns, bringing people together to work towards our vision of wild orangutans thriving in safe forests.

Our work encompasses three main areas of focus:

  1. Protecting orangutans

With fewer than 14,000 surviving in the wild in Sumatra, every life is precious. We fund and support teams on the ground who rescue orangutans in danger and return them to safe forests, where they belong. The rapid expansion of agriculture where there used to be forest can cause conflict between people and orangutans, so we also support training for farmers to help them protect their crops without harming wildlife.

  1. Saving forests

The greatest threat facing orangutans is the loss of their habitat, so it’s vital that we do everything we can to protect Sumatra’s forests. We do this by lobbying government and companies to develop and enforce forest-friendly policies, support our partners to actively reclaim and restore lost habitat, and tackle forest loss on the ground by combining forest patrol teams and satellite monitoring, meaning deforestation can be stopped in its tracks.

  1. Supporting People

Local communities are vital stakeholders in the protection, restoration and safeguarding of rainforest ecosystems. Our partners work together with local people to develop ways of protecting the forest which have their livelihood and wellbeing at heart. This approach, building a network of rainforest guardians, reduces pressure on the forest and helps to prevent future conservation challenges.

We’re thinking long-term, big-picture, and striving to bring about fundamental changes to the way that Sumatra’s forests and wildlife are valued, managed and protected. 

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